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Buyer's Guide to Shellfish

The healthiest choices for clams, mussels and oysters.

Shellfish isn’t just tasty, it’s good for you too. It’s high in iron, which transports oxygen around your body and vitamin B12, which helps turn food into energy. Oysters and clams are a good source of zinc, which supports your immune system. Shellfish does have around 50 mg of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving. But cardiologists agree that saturated fat is more detrimental to blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. And most shellfish offer some omega-3s, one of the types of fat that can actually improve your cholesterol. Unlike larger seafood species, shellfish are low on the food chain, so they don’t accumulate harmful contaminants like mercury.

The Best Way to Store Shellfish

Remember that fresh shellfish are alive, so you don’t want to smother them in a sealed plastic bag. Place clams, mussels and oysters in a bowl covered with a wet clean towel. Put a few ice cubes on the towel so that it stays damp and keep the bowl in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually on the bottom, in the back. Drain off any water that accumulates in the bowl. Use within a day or two.

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